I thought about pain when I watched Star Trek: V a little while ago.
If you don’t want to see spoilers, stop reading here. If you don’t know the storyline, click here for a synopsis.
One quotation stuck out in particular. When Sybok has taken over the Enterprise, only Captain Kirk is left unaffected (the others being in some kind of blissful, dreamy state). Sybok attempts to win Kirk over in the same way he did the others – by taking away Kirk’s “pain”. However, Kirk fights against it.
“Don’t take away my pain! I need my pain!” he screams.
This raised an interesting question for me. Do we need our pain? The ‘obvious’ immediate answer would be, “No! It’s bad!” Bear with me.
Pain, emotional and physical, is unfortunately an inevitable part of life. The question is, what do you do afterwards? How do you deal with that pain? Where do you channel it?
Pain can spur us on to become angry, and anger need not always be destructive. Channelled appropriately, it can provide energy to right wrongs and fight for justice.
Sybok’s mistake was not just to take away people’s pain and trauma, it was to do it without consent and in a way that took away a lot of the learning experience that could be gained by working through it at the person’s own pace. Then he used the gratitude people felt to him to bend them to his will (and steal a starship)… eek!
Counselling cannot undo the past, it cannot remove sources of pain. What it can do is help people process, understand, accept and decide how to move on – and help you find and develop your own tools to manage pain in the future.